Astor Piazzolla belongs to Buenos Aires and to the whole world as well. His music has that secret, that intangible charm and that dose of magic it takes to fascinate musicians and non-musicians alike, whatever their own styles and wherever they come from. His sharply-accented melodies and his lively, persistent rhythms with their ferocious attacks capture you and sweep you along. Then suddenly all that sonic aggression calms down in a slow section and his lyricism, his inexorable melodies, hit you inside. It's the tango, and it goes straight to the soul.
The Blu-ray version of the release 'Tango!' by the Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble features a video of the studio performance of several of the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla's most popular pieces, including Verano Porteno, Oblivion, and Libertango. Accompanied by a special documentary, 'Music from the Heart', which presents interviews with ensemble members and behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording process. The Isabelle van Keulen Ensemble was formed in January 2011 by the critically acclaimed Dutch violinist and violist Isabelle van Keulen especially for a series of concerts in Haarlem's Concertgebouw which showcased the music of Ástor Piazzolla.
Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer's 2000 release Eight Seasons is a conceptual masterwork. Kremer, long known for his skillful interpretations of Astor Piazzolla's Argentinean tangos, had the brilliant idea of matching four of the Latin master's tone poems of the seasons in his native Buenos Aires with Antonio Vivaldi's conceptually similar masterpiece "The Four Seasons," alternating seasons between the two works. Besides the conceptual perfection of the idea, the performances are exquisite. Kremer and his conservatory orchestra, the Kremerata Baltica, do a particularly masterful job with the Vivaldi, avoiding the ornate bloat that affects so many recordings of this work. Their performances are brisk and to-the-point, with bright tempos that add a vitality not often found in this rather shopworn old standard. As always, Kremer's solos in the Piazzolla works are absolutely superb, with the dramatic flourishes of the massed string section providing startling counterpoint, especially on the breathtaking "Verano Porteno". Eight Seasons is a truly remarkable work by an underrated performer.
"I can’t imagine a more diverse palette of sounds, styles and colours than the three composers on this recording. They are unmistakably Argentinian yet tantalisingly different. Between them they represent the vibrant fusion of cultures that exist in Argentina today. In order to give full justice to their music, we researched their personal tastes, sources and sound worlds, looking for the influences that shaped them."
Astor Piazzolla’s tangos, beloved around the world for their pathos, passion, longing and sensibility, are here given fresh interpretations in arrangements for piano by the Argentinean-born, Brussels-based pianist Aquiles Delle-Vigne. A disciple of Claudio Arrau and winner of the Grand Prix ‘Alberto Williams’, the most prestigious competition in South America, he has been hailed by Le Figaro as a ‘fantastic, incomparable pianist and artist’, while The New York Times characterized his playing as ‘aristocratic, sophisticated and charming’. Piazzolla’s earthy yet highly developed music gains a new dimension of intimacy but also of power in the hands of this master of the keyboard.